Are Quantum Satellites the Future of Cyber Security?

Global satellite activity

Aug 29, 2017

It was recently reported that the much-publicized “WannaCry” ransomware was responsible for shutting down a Honda plant in Japan.

Reuters said that Honda had to stop production at its Sayama plant in June after WannaCry made its way onto the automaker's network, putting on pause an operation that churns out 1,000 vehicles per day.

While this is the stuff of nightmares for many manufacturers, take note that there have been some developments recently in the race towards safer data.

CNN says the research journal Science is crediting China with a big step forward in hack-proofing communications.

China became the first country to launch a quantum technology satellite last year, and now their efforts have started to produce results. It has been suggested that quantum technology is highly secure because, says CNN, “subatomic particles can be used to create a secret key for the sender and receiver of information. Any attempt to eavesdrop would disturb the particles and be discovered.” In fact, NBC News called a satellite using quantum communications “pretty close to tamper-proof.”

Recently, the satellite beamed pairs of entangled photons to ground stations that lie 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) apart, which is a process that’s been attempted successfully before, but at much shorter distance.

Still, experts caution that the achievement is just a building block, and that the effort to build a useable quantum communications network still has a long way to go: apparently photons are extremely fragile and travel more smoothly in space than in the earth's atmosphere.